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Americans Hold Somber Observances of September 11 Attacks

Suzanne Presto

September 12, 2011

A decade after Islamic terrorists hijacked four passenger planes and turned them into weapons to claim nearly 3,000 lives, people in the United States on Sunday somberly marked the September 11 anniversary with memorials at the scenes of the attacks.

An honor guard pay his respect at the bronze firefighter memorial at the World Trade Center site in New York, September 11, 2011 VOA - C. Presutti

The names of the nearly 3,000 victims at the World Trade Center speak volumes. The terrorist attacks in New York 10 years ago touched people of all backgrounds, races and ages.

"And my father, Sebastian Gorki, who I never met because I was in my mom's belly. I love you, father. I love you for loving the idea of having me. You gave me the gift of life, and I wish you could be here to enjoy it with me," said Nicholas Gorki.

Bells tolled to mark the moments when hijacked planes struck the twin towers, and when those towers collapsed.

Among the crowd at the National September 11 Memorial, President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle; former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura, and New York City's mayor in 2001, Rudolph Giuliani. "God bless every soul that we lost. God bless the family members who have to endure that loss, and God guide us to our reunion in heaven, and God bless the United States of America," he said.

The decade has not dulled the sense of loss.

"Miss my son every day of his, of my life. Ten years seem like 10 minutes right now," said one woman.

Elsewhere, mourners gathered in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where a hijacked plane crashed after passengers overpowered their attackers.

The Obamas appeared there, too, and shared a reflective moment.

And just outside the nation's capital, a remembrance at the Pentagon, where 184 people died when another plane struck the building.

Vice President Joe Biden spoke of the resilience of the victims' families. "You let them know that hope can grow from tragedy, that there can be a second life," he said.

Year after year, people come back to the scenes of the three attacks, united in their collective loss.

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